September 2021 Marshall-DeKalb

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Stories | Recipes | Events | People | Places | Things | Local News September 2021


Historic Mooresville and 1818 Farms

A tiny town and a blooming business

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History on display

The 16 bronze relief sculptures installed on granite bases at the foot of the Alabama State Capitol take visitors on a journey through pivotal moments in Alabama history, including rural electrification. Manager Scott Bobo Co-op Editor Kelli Whorton ALABAMA LIVING is delivered to some 420,000 Alabama families and businesses, which are members of 22 not-for-profit, consumer-owned, locally directed and taxpaying electric cooperatives. Subscriptions are $12 a year for individuals not subscribing through participating Alabama electric cooperatives. Alabama Living (USPS 029-920) is published monthly by the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives. Periodicals postage paid at Montgomery, Alabama, and at additional mailing office. POSTMASTER send forms 3579 to: Alabama Living, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, Alabama 36124-4014.

16 F E A T U R E S choice 9 Reader’s We asked you, our readers, to send us your favorite photos for this month.


AREA President Karl Rayborn Editor Lenore Vickrey Managing Editor Allison Law Creative Director Mark Stephenson Art Director Danny Weston Advertising Director Jacob Johnson Graphic Designer/Ad Coordinator Brooke Echols ADVERTISING & EDITORIAL OFFICES:

340 TechnaCenter Drive Montgomery, Alabama 36117-6031 1-800-410-2737 For advertising, email: For editorial inquiries, email: NATIONAL ADVERTISING REPRESENTATIVE:

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Auburn evangelist


Grandparents’ best

With more than 40 years of service to the university, David Housel’s name is almost synonymous with the loveliest village on the Plains, especially with athletics. Does the smell of certain dishes take you right back to your grandmother’s kitchen? Our readers can relate!

Printed in America from American materials

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D E P A R T M E N T S 11 Spotlight 29 Around Alabama 34 Cook of the Month 38 Outdoors 39 Fish & Game Forecast 46 Hardy Jackson’s Alabama ONLINE: ON THE COVER

Look for this logo to see more content online!

VOL. 74 NO. 9  SEPTEMBER 2021

Natasha McCrary holds a bouquet of fall flowers from the gardens at 1818 Farms in Mooresville. Read more on Page 12-14. PHOTO: Courtesy 1818 Farms


ONLINE: EMAIL: MAIL: Alabama Living 340 Technacenter Drive Montgomery, AL 36117

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Providing Dependable Electricity at the Lowest Possible Rate

Board of Trustees District 1 Steve Henley

District 2 Jerry Scott

District 3 Terry Edmondson

District 4 Gene Hulgan

District 5 Terry Johnson

District 6 Briggs Patterson

District 7 Lavaughn Holcomb

District 8 Steve Davis

District 9 Bobby Weathers

Chief Executive Officer Scott Bobo

In case of a power outage, you may call us 24 hours a day: Call us (local) 256-593-4262 or toll-free 1-800-239-3692

Official Notice of the 2021 Annual Meeting Pursuant to the bylaws of Marshall-DeKalb Electric Cooperative, the annual meeting of members will be held on September 20, 2021, at the Administration Building in the Fielder Auditorium located at Snead State Community College in Boaz. Doors will open at 6:30 pm for registration and the meeting will follow promptly at 7:00 pm. The purpose of the meeting is to elect trustees and to discuss any other business relating to Marshall-DeKalb Electric Cooperative. Masks will be required to enter and Alabama public health guidelines will be followed. In the event that CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and/or state public health guidelines cause the meeting to be postponed or relocated, members will be notified through our website and social media. If you are planning on attending please notify us at 256-5934262. The following have been nominated for election: District 1 District 2 District 3 District 4 District 5 District 6 District 7 District 8 District 9

Steve Henley Jerry L. Scott Terry Edmondson Gene Hulgan Terry Johnson Briggs Patterson LaVaughn Holcomb Steve Davis Bobby Weathers

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Alabama Living

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| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op |

Hidden Gem in a Rocky Hollow By Hannah Hanson


ucked away on a back road in Marshall County sits a quaint barn with beautiful views of hay fields and flower gardens, complete with a small creek running through the property. Jeremy and Lolita Reagan are the owners of this barn, along with a 200-acre farm known as Rocky Hollow Farms. In the beginning, the farm consisted of cattle, broiler houses, and hayfields. It wasn’t until a few years later when Lolita recognized a need for an event venue in the area.

“If I ever get something in my head, that I want to do, I can’t stop thinking about it until I do it!” Lolita Reagan, owner of Rocky Hollow Farms

“I love to stay busy, and anything to do with decorating and DIY projects. I don’t consider myself a ‘social butterfly,’ but I do love to go to events and things like that,” Lolita says. Once the idea came to mind, Lolita couldn’t let it rest. “If I ever get something in my head, that I want to do, I can’t stop thinking about it until I do it!” she laughs. In June 2017 Rocky Hollow Farms event venue was established. Lolita, alongside her husband Jeremy and son, Clay, all did much of the work to finish the construction of the event barn. For instance, the barn includes a full kitchen area, including a surplus of small appliances and serving pieces, complete with butcher block countertops the Reagans built themselves. The main area of the barn has 20-foot ceilings with aged wooden beams, and the tongue and groove ceiling that Lolita and her son hand stained.

Rocky Hollow Farms Wedding Venue

The barn includes two separate rooms, one for the bride and one for the groom, each decorated with a charming, southern theme. The bride’s room showcases a vintage couch, while the groom’s room has a real, barbed wire fence attached to the wall behind a seating area. “The bride and groom rooms are always a popular spot for unique pictures,” Lolita says. Another unique trait about Rocky Hollow Farms event barn is the fully stocked room with décor for all seasons. It includes centerpieces, floral swags, and much more. Upon rental of the barn, renters receive full access to use any of the desired decorations and props anywhere throughout the barn.


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Beautiful landscape surrounds the venue which gives more options for ceremonies.

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The event barn is in a secluded area with a country setting, surrounded by the Reagans’ hayfields. The views are welcoming and give feelings of southern comfort. The front porch has a swing and several rockers made of hand carved birchwood, often sought after in places like the Amish country. Rocky Hollow Farms hosts all types of events, from weddings, bridal and baby showers, company parties, Quinceañeras, and even proms. There have even been photographers who use the site for seasonal mini shoots in the large outside area. The Reagans also have inflatable slides and bouncy houses for events such as birthday parties, with accessibility to set up the inflatables indoors during inclement weather, or for young children. The Reagans share details of their past favorite events, “Once, we had a Quinceañera booked, and the entire family actually came in for the weekend and had church before the actual celebration. Jeremy and I stayed on the premises to help, so we were able to experience their church service. It was amazing. I had never attended anything like it!” Lolita continues, “Weddings are probably my favorite event that we host. I love getting to be part of such a big day for people! Seeing the happiness on the bride and groom’s faces, knowing our venue will always be a place they think back to when they remember such a special day. I always love to see how the brides choose to decorate and learn what is trending with weddings.”

later date, in hopes of things reopening, but there were a couple of events that were canceled. We were shut down in April and for several months after due to COVID restrictions,” Lolita says. “We were booked out months in advance for several events, and it was a lot of work contacting, and rescheduling for dates that worked best for each customer.” Just like many other businesses, it was a struggle, and the fear of uncertainty lingered. Thankfully, 2021 has been a better year for events at Rocky Hollow Farms. When asked what they see in the future of the barn, the Reagans explain some upcoming projects for the exterior of the venue. “We are about to re-do the back deck and extend the steps across the span of the back.” Lolita explains, “And we are adding some things near the gazebo and bridge in the back yard that will be nice and cater more to the outdoor events so they may use the inside for dining or dancing.” The Reagans hope that one day Clay, their son, and his future wife will take over the event barn. “We definitely want it to stay in the family, it’s on family land, and we have put a lot of work into it.” Jeremy says. If you are interested in booking an event at Rocky Hollow Farms, contact Lolita Reagan at (256) 5584105. You may also find the page Rocky Hollow Farms on Facebook.

While there are many benefits that come with owning an event venue, there are also those that bring hard work. The Reagans are grateful for booked up weekends at the barn, but when hosting different events back-to-back, it calls for late nights of cleaning and early mornings of prep between. The Reagans explain there is always a worry that something may go wrong, or even what the barn might look like after big events. “We have cleaned up some big messes, that we have had to have help from my mother!” Lolita laughs, “This place could not run as smoothly as it does if it weren’t for my mother. She helps us a lot.” The Reagans are used to the event barn booking months in advance, filling up every weekend availability for all types of events. Last year when COVID-19 hit, it was a hard time for Rocky Hollow Farms. “Many events were bumped out to a Alabama Living

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| Marshall-DeKalb Electric Co-op |

Employee Spotlight Zach Peek Li nem an est.1942

How long have you worked at Marshall DeKalb EC? I have worked at MDEC for 14 years. Describe your primary job? I work on a service bucket truck. Normally my day consists of hanging transformers, installing services, and restoring power outages. What do you love most about your job? I love to be outside and I love the people I work with. Tell us about your family? My wife, Brooke, is a nurse at UAB. We have been married for 3 years . I have two daughters at Boaz Intermediate school. Brylin is in the 4th grade and Tatum is in the 5th grade. Where did you go to high school/college? Crossville High School Class of 2005 What are your hobbies? I work out a lot so going to the gym is a hobby. I also like to work in the yard and around the house.

Boaz 57th

Annual Harvest Festival Friday - Saturday October 1-2 Starts at 8:00 am Arts & Crafts Cornhole Tournament Classic Car & Truck Show Jeep Show Gospel Music Country Music Bluegrass Music Beauty Pageant Pumpkin Contest Food Trucks

Who has inspired you the most to get where you are today? I would have to say my grandparents. Where is your favorite lunch spot/what do you do for lunch most days? Mill Street Deli is my favorite. Where would you go on a dream vacation? If it has a beach, it’s where I want to be.


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| Alabama Snapshots |

My favorite photo

God’s creation. SUBMITTED by Teresa Mauldin, Crane Hill.

J.B. and Evie. Our favorite color is sunset. SUBMITTED BY Connie Johnston, Orange Beach.

The first meeting of Bear and Kaitlin. SUBMITTED by Charles Runnels, Mentone.

Dad, Lawrence Veca, celebrating his 97th birthday with a beer toast - no champagne. SUBMITTED by Dees Veca, Kenner. Landry. SUBMITTED BY Vanieca Akins, Wedowee.

Me and my dad, Grady T. Mullins, a few months before he passed away in August 2019. SUBMITTED by Joquitta Posey, Cullman.

Our grandson Hudson in his daddy’s ‘82 Chevy truck. SUBMITTED BY Susan Mitchell, Robertsdale.

Submit “I’m thankful for...” photos by September 30. Winning photos will run in November. Online: Mail: Snapshots P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

Alabama Living

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SUBMIT to WIN $10! RULES: Alabama Living will pay $10 for photos that best match our theme of the month. Photos may also be published on our website at and on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Alabama Living is not responsible for lost or damaged photos. Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to have photos returned. SEPTEMBER 2021  9

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Spotlight | September Alabama museums to open doors for free Sept. 18

Stay safe and informed about COVID-19

Smithsonian magazine has designated Saturday, Sept. 18 as the 17th annual Museum Day, an initiative in which participating museums around the U.S. open their doors for free to those who download a branded ticket. With many public spaces shut down for a year or more during the pandemic, Museum Day 2021 celebrates the reopening of many museums with the theme “Experience America.” The event is sponsored by the Quaker Oats Company. In Alabama, the Conde Charlotte Museum in Mobile, the USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, the Gorgas House Museum in Tuscaloosa, and Vulcan Park and Museum in Birmingham are participating in the event. To learn more, visit

COVID-19 continues to dominate the news and social media, and while we may grow weary of data, statistics and varying opinions about the virus, remember that there are official websites and publications that can help you navigate the ever-evolving public health landscape. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) website,, has an array of information, including a dashboard hub that tracks vaccine distribution, clinics, data and surveillance and a statewide view of COVID-19 cases and operating status in Alabama schools. Also on the site: vaccine availability and updates, travelers’ health information and any state health order information from the governor or state health officer. Also see for information and resources specific to small businesses, students, educators, volunteers, job seekers and more.

Take us along!

We’ve enjoyed seeing photos from our readers on their travels with Alabama Living! Please send us a photo of you with a copy of the magazine on your travels to: Please include your name, hometown and electric cooperative, and the location of your photo and include your social media handle so we can tag you! We’ll draw a winner for the $25 prize each month.

Patricia Barfield, a member of Arab Electric Cooperative from Union Grove, took this photo of her nephew, Seth, at the ski slopes in Gatlinburg, Tenn. She reports that Seth “loves to look through the Alabama Living magazine!”

Yuvonne Scott of Loxley, a member of Baldwin EMC, took her magazine to the Walt Disney Amphitheater at Lake Eola in Orlando, Fla.

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Dawn and Harold Graeter of Crane Hill, members of Cullman EC, took their first trip in a year when they visited St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Thanks for taking us along!

Sue Odom crossed the Ohio River on a ferry connecting Rabbit Hash, Ky., and Rising Star, Indiana, and took her Alabama Living along for the ride. She’s a member of Clarke-Washington EMC from Deer Park.

Whereville, AL

Identify and place this Alabama landmark and you could win $25! Winner is chosen at random from all correct entries. Multiple entries from the same person will be disqualified. Send your answer by Sept. 8 with your name, address and the name of your rural electric cooperative, if applicable. The winner and answer will be announced in the October issue. Submit by email:, or by mail: Whereville, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124. August’s answer: The Committee on Public Arts and North Baldwin Infirmary partnered on this sculpture, which pays tribute to RIDEYELLOW, the state’s largest charity bike ride. The design features two cyclists as they take part in annual event with the yellow ribbon symbolizing the race to victory over cancer. The sculpture was designed and built by AAA Iron Works in Mobile. It is on the front lawn of the North Baldwin Chamber of Commerce on McMeans Avenue in Bay Minette, directly across from Halliday Park where the annual ride takes place on the Saturday before Father’s Day. (Photo submitted by Tina Covington of Baldwin EMC.) The randomly drawn correct guess winner is Kathy Buckhault, Southern Pine EC.

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September | Spotlight Letters to the editor E-mail us at: or write us at: Letters to the editor P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

More flamingo research needed

I must respectfully disagree with Harvey Jackson’s observations on the cause of the decline of pink flamingos. It is all too easy to think birds are disappearing when one concentrates in a single location or partial range. Further research is needed, not speculation! Harvey suggests: “a shift in Southern tastes by a rejection of the crass and tacky…” as a primary cause of the birds decline. I have witnessed flamingos with seasonal outfits, turkey clothing for Thanksgiving, Santa Claus for Christmas, etc. Certainly these are more than sophisticated enough for anyone’s taste, including Southerners. I suspect the disappearance of flamingos has a more insidious side. Might GMO grains like corn and wheat be cross pollinating with wild grasses and producing an indigestible food source? The birds, when migrating, run out of energy and perish due to a lack of fat stores. You may not be aware that pinks migrate, but they do. I know of one particular pair starting out in Denbigh, Virginia and flying (non-stop 900 miles) to Orange City, Florida, where they landed and remained in and about Graves Avenue for 40 some years, until they settled in a mile or so down the street on Foothill Farms Road. They still reside there to this day, at 72+ years of age, though a bit weathered. And they are the very rare, concrete type flamingo with squared off (or cropped) tail feathers. So it seems we have identified two species of flamingos: Hardy’s Plastic and the Virginia Concrete. Who knows how many more species are out there, their numbers, their life span, or their actual range ? Before we can have them listed as endangered under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act - USFWS, this needs to be discovered and peer data reviewed. I suggest eliciting help from a birding expert like Scott Weidensaul (A World on the Wing) the global odyssey of migratory birds, who understands mist netting, banding, and attaching trackers. (I might point out, the Concrete species would need a chain link fence, rather than a mist net). Finally, nearly all large building projects have mandatory “art” requirements to meet, usually some percentage of the cost of building. I would suggest one merely whisper in the ear of the local zoning board to add Hardy’s “Flamingo Paddock.” These would be truly a joy for all to see and would we would not need to wait for the federal listing, which might take years. John Hobdell, Trinity

Fans of flamingos respond

We received several letters from readers who enjoyed the recent column by Hardy Jackson, “Save the plastic pink flamingos,” August 2021. Some even sent photos of their pink feathered friends. A hole left by the removal of a tree downed by Hurricane Sally in Gulf Shores seemed a dangerous situation for townhome residents at night. No traffic cones handy, but the flamingos came to the rescue. They’d be willing to stay after the hole is filled. Thanks for caring about flamingos; they certainly care for us. Tom Moo, Gulf Shores Just read your article in my Alabama Living about the sad situation with the endangered flamingos and wanted you to know that I am doing my best to keep the flamingos from extinction. We currently only have Fred the flamingo but we’re looking for a suitable mate to ensure the population can continue to grow. Thank you for enlightening the good folks of Alabama about this sad situation. Jackie Gibson Summers, Grove Hill Over the weekend I read your article about saving the pink flamingos. I used to think they were very tacky but as I grew older, I learned to love them, in moderation, of course! I keep a champagne tree decorated at all times. All holidays. This flamingo tree is after Easter and before Memorial Day. So, at our house, we have saved just a small fraction of the lost flamingos! Kathy Doss, Dothan

Your article is the first one I read in Alabama Living. You have brightened my day and given me another way to encourage my friends when they, too, get to read this article. Have a great day and keep up the good work. Gladys and Loyd McBride, Wetumpka Sponsored by

Find the hidden dingbat! More than 500 of our readers correctly found last month’s hidden dingbat. The sand dollar was on Page 26 in the turf of the football field photo illustration. Angela Philyaw of Cullman said she passed over it at least six times before her 12-year-old daughter, Isabell, wanted to read more about Alabama football and spotted it on the football predictions page! Marjorie Cask of Vernon, age 93, wrote us that while it’s hard to see the dingbats when they are dark, this time it was easier because of the light color. “I love to look for the dingbat even if I have to have a magnifying glass most of the time,” she wrote. Good job, Ms. Cask! Betty Gail Duke of Cullman wrote that she has a “huge button collection” and she found the sand dollar easily because, Alabama Living

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sure enough, it looked like a button. Congratulations to all our correct guessers and our winner, Sarah Noble, a member of Wiregrass EC! She will receive a $25 gift card and a prize package from our sponsor, Alabama One Credit Union. This month, we’re hiding a hammer, so good luck! Entry deadline is Sept. 8. By mail:

Find the Dingbat Alabama Living PO Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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Living history Mooresville, pop. 59, has stories to tell By Jennifer Crossley Howard


f Alabama had hamlets, Mooresville would be its poster child. The town, which looks more like a village, sits tucked behind the Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, right off I-565, between Decatur and Huntsville. It is just out of earshot of traffic, and you know you’re there when you arrive at the split wood fence and block-letter sign. “We wanted it to feel like you know you’re in Mooresville,” says former Mayor Margaret-Ann Crumlish of the fence. “It’s like we put a little hug around town.” That embrace lingers with history, with which the town brims, as its entire .12 square miles is on the National Register of Historic Places. There’s the Brick Church, a Greek Revival haven for the betrothed, and the Dance Hall with its billowing white curtains. Homes retain the names of their owners, such as the Zeitler-HillMcLain-Morin House, another Greek Revival ripe with pillars.

Occasionally such houses go on the market, reminding you that this is no quaint film set. People live here. They come and go. But mostly, they stay. Crumlish is the eighth generation of her family to live here. “We’re like a big family,” she says. “We have to look out for each other because we’re so small.” In pre-COVID days, neighbors congregated for front-porch margaritas and chili in the mayor’s kitchen. White picket fences outline yards, and old smokehouses sit behind many homes. A tennis court fills the backyard of another. Here, relics of the past mingle with the future. There are no sidewalks; no need. Only two cars passed through in an hour’s time. A family with three children strolled by, bundled up on one winter day. “We love seeing young ones,” says Shirley McCrary, tour guide

The 1840s Mooresville post office is the oldest in continual use in Alabama. Residents walk inside the room-sized log cabin to pick up their mail every Saturday. The buildings in the town, which was incorporated in 1818, reflect the architectural styles of the 19th century. The Disney movie, “Tom and Huck,” was filmed here in 1995. PHOTOS BY LENORE VICKREY

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and Crumlish’s public on the value mother. “The new of self-sufficiency, blood that can help craftsmanship and us maintain the a strong sense of town.” community,” she Retirees, lawsays. yers, an architect Visitors exit the Crumlish house during the 2019 Mooresville Holiday Home Tour. This Federal period In 2019, Amazon and numerous home was built in 1826. honored McCrary, PHOTO BY JERONIMO NISA employees of Reda sixth-generation stone Arsenal Mooresvillian, as make up some of the population that now stands at less than 60. a Small Business Spotlight winner in the woman-owned small One would assume that heavy traffic would be last on a list of business category. Though the business side of 1818 Farms pet peeves of living in a town smaller than many college lecture takes place in Huntsville, its soul and goods are grounded in halls. Commuting is a reality for residents of Mooresville, which Mooresville. lacks schools and the usual number of churches that line many a McCrary raises Babydoll Southdown sheep, a Nubian goat, road in Alabama, so residents travel to worship, learn and shop. hens and more on her farm. Cats and Great Pyrenees dogs keep “You learn to manage your time in the car, and it works,” Crumeveryone in line. In a field adjacent to the animals, zinnias, dailish says. sies and sweet peas flourish in the spring. A flower truck travels But they need not stray too far from their village for a new around Athens, Madison, Decatur and Huntsville, allowing cusbike or for homespun skincare. Southern Carnage, the bike shop, tomers to personalize bouquets. also repairs the wheels of cyclists who habitually race laps around Loyal social media followers amount to almost 30,000 on InsMooresville’s blocks. tagram alone. The town is older than the state of Alabama by a year — a point The town has paused its annual Christmas celebration for now of pride for its citizens. That history lends the town such distinc— Crumlish says the nostalgic weekend event requires too much tions as having the oldest-continuously operated post office in the work and money for the crowd of a few hundred it drew in latstate. Residents must walk into the room-sized log cabin to pick er years. But the town plans a new tradition this winter. Holiday up their mail every Saturday. Considering country-wide mail carSounds, a Native American flute-centric group from Oklahoma, rier shortages, they declined to add anytime walk-in hours. will center on the square to play the second weekend of Decem“We thought if we agreed, that it might shut us down,” Crumlish ber. Tickets will be available on says. The long-term plan is for Mooresville to become part of some The post office almost closed in the 1980s, but U.S. Sen. Howthing bigger while retaining its historical authenticity. Over the ell Heflin intervened to keep it open. The humble building has next 10 years, the Singing River Trail will link Madison, Belle served as a gathering place since its doors opened, and remains so. Mina, Mooresville, Decatur and Huntsville in honoring the state’s Like Athens and surrounding areas in north Alabama, farming Native American heritage while providing cyclists and runners runs deep in the roots of Mooresville’s heritage. Current businessa paved path to enjoy nature, says current Mayor Nikki Sprades such as 1818 Farms honor that past with herds of sheep scamer. Also on the horizon is Mooresville’s inaugural arts festival to pering across a field. Wooden fences and low-hanging magnolia take place next May. trees frame the scene. 1818 Farms operates a farm, flower truck Throughout its more than 200-year history, the languid pace of and sells bath and beauty products made on site. It also serves as Mooresville continues to quietly soldier on through progress and an event venue and breeds sheep. (See related story, Page 14.) the wear and tear of time. Mooresville’s family atmosphere and deep history set it apart At the top of the Brick Church’s steeple, a wooden hand points and seemed a natural fit when 1818 Farms owner Natasha Mcheavenward. The style was adopted from a church a townsperson Crary decided to launch her business there almost 10 years ago. spotted in Port Gibson, Mississippi. The Brick Church fell in the “The town is the perfect location for a business whose mission 1920s and has since been restored. It retains its hard-won scars is preserving history and honoring tradition by working a susacquired from years of survival. It signals a hope resonant in this tainable farm, producing handmade products and educating the little town that could, did and will. Alabama Living

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More than just flowers growing at 1818 Farms By Jennifer Crossley Howard


ucked away in the corner of one of Alabama’s oldest towns is 1818 Farms, where calendula, zinnia, coneflower and more seem to glow neon against heavy clouds. Owner and founder Natasha McCrary cracked open a white bachelor’s button revealing an intricate seed. “It looks like a tiny little skeleton,” she says. McCrary walked quickly between tall rows of annuals and perennials, mucking about in bee-printed rubber boots and green overalls. She was intent on beating the heat on a recent summer morning. She and another employee had finished fertilizing and were watering the flowers before getting ready to harvest them for bouquets. The farm delivers 50 to 100 bouquets a week as part of its seasonal subscriptions. The menu of blooms requires careful planning to have enough flowers without letting them go to waste. Natasha McCrary, with a wooly friend close by, readies bouquets of fall PHOTOS COURTESY OF 1818 FARMS flowers grown at 1818 Farms. “In this job, speed is important,” she says. McCrary began 1818 Farms in 2013, mixing an all-natural shea butter cream. Since then, more than 300,000 jars have been Mooresvillians; Laurence McCrary’s ancestors date back to the sold in stores and online in several scents, including her preferred 1800s. lavender. Coffee, cuticle cream, milk tea bath and the most visual The flora in and around the farm range from native — oak leaf product, the flower farm, have expanded. Many bath and body hydrangea and drooping canopies of magnolia — to more atypingredients are grown in Mooresville, tended to by McCrary and ical fauna such as Southdown Baby Doll Sheep, whose pictures another employee, Cindy, while products are processed at a warefrequent the farm’s Instagram page and is the farm’s marketing house in downtown Huntsville. mascot. At least 500 stores carry 1818 Farms products, including local The company has reported an average 70 percent year over year shops such as The Cupboard in Decatur and U.G. White Hardgrowth for the past five years, and though the COVID-19 panware & Furniture in Athens. The website,, feademic has ended many a small business, it was actually a boon tures the many retail products for sale, the farm’s history and infor 1818 Farms. Home delivery bouquet subscriptions picked up formation on retailers that carry the 1818 Farms line. during quarantine, and bath and beauty products have long been 1818 Farms is a working farm, not open for drop-in tours or for the business’s biggest money makers. With restrictions lifting, the many events. antique ice-blue 1965 Ford F100 flow“If you’re doing the work, it’s hard to er truck will soon start popping up to do both,” McCrary says. “If everything sell flowers again. is planted, we’re tending to 13,000 McCrary is proud of the farm’s flowers at a time.” growth of species of flowers famous Judging from the demand 1818’s for not flourishing in the Deep South’s bouquets and workshops have garstout heat, like poppies and digitalnered over the pandemic, it seems is, also known as foxglove. The trick? people crave the simple and earthy Start seeds early and harvest blooms beauty of flowers. A dried flower before the true heat sets in. workshop this summer sold out even Most days on the farm average nine before an announcement made it onhours, and McCrary, who is 50, wonline. Another is planned for fall. ders how that will feel in later years. The work is in McCrary’s blood. “I don’t think people realize how The farm began as a way to teach her The farms’ shea butter cream, which comes in several physical this is,” she says. “Nothing’s children about land and sustainability, different scents, is a popular seller in stores and online. mechanized. Everything we do is done something she learned from her faby hand.” ther, a botanist. McCrary’s husband, Laurence, who has a finanStill the gratification of working outdoors outweighs the aches cial background, runs that side of things, while their high school and pains. and college-age children assist with chores and hosting guests at “For me, satisfying is seeing what you can grow from that tiny events such as bloom strolls. Their children are fifth-generation seed,” McCrary says.

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Alabama Living

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History on display

in sculpture at Alabama Bicentennial Park

Sculptor Caleb O’Connor works on a panel for the Bicentennial Park. A documentary on the park’s construction is available on YouTube. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION

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By Minnie Lamberth


he 16 bronze relief sculptures installed on granite bases at the foot of the Alabama State Capitol take visitors on a journey through pivotal moments in Alabama history. “Each of those moments represents something that was kind of a watershed for the state — where life before and life after were different,” says Jay Lamar, who served as the Alabama Bicentennial Commission’s executive director during the three-year celebration of the state’s 200th anniversary. The Alabama Bicentennial Park, a lasting legacy of this celebration, is the collective effort of dozens of individuals, including state leaders, state agency professionals and a renowned sculptor, who envisioned a public art project that is also an all-encompassing history lesson. “Of all the projects that we did for the bicentennial, it is the biggest, the most complicated and I hope the most long lasting in terms of it being available for many generations to come,” Lamar says. Located in green spaces near Dexter Avenue and Bainbridge Street in downtown Montgomery, the park puts history on display for anyone who wants to walk through the sculpture and narrative plaques. The journey begins with an ancient sea that covered the state and eventually receded to reveal a land rich in natural resources. This history goes on to highlight early Native American societies that established settlements, the battles that preceded statehood, and the constitution that provided entry into the United States.

authorized by legislative act in 2017, beginning a two-year process to complete the project in time to recognize two centuries of statehood on the official anniversary date of Dec. 14, 2019. “The big thing for us was there was a very much an immovable deadline,” Lamar says. “There were some moments when there was concern about whether we were going to get there, but at the end of the day, we did.” A request for proposals issued by the Alabama State Council on the Arts generated interest from sculptors around the country and ultimately led to the selection of Caleb O’Connor of Tuscaloosa. O’Connor brought in Craig Wedderspoon, a sculpture professor at the University of Alabama, as a project collaborator overseeing foundry operations and base installation. “Figuring out what the content would be was another process, and the Archives and History was very involved in that,” Lamar says. Then there was the fabrication of the sculpture as well as the preparation of the site, which is managed by the Department of Finance and adheres to regulations for a historic space overseen by the Alabama Historical Commission. As advisory groups weighed in on content and artistic expression, input was gathered from across the state. There were “a lot of voices and lots of perspectives represented in the planning and execution of the park and the monuments,” Lamar says. “It was one of the most collaborative projects that we did, and I think all to the good for what the outcome was.”

Rural electrification spotlighted

A welcome opportunity

The story continues through difficult days of secession, war and emancipation. Industrialization is part of this history, as is the 1901 constitution that enshrined inequitable barriers to the right to vote. The diversification of the state’s agricultural economy followed the boll weevil’s destruction. Then, as the state’s citizens made it through the Great Depression, electricity reached rural communities, and Alabamians did their part in World War II. By the mid-1900s, Alabama became the center of the nation’s civil rights movement while also being central to the international Space Race. And the entry into the 21st century brought globalization to the economy, which now benefited from the automotive industry, aviation manufacturing, biotechnology research and other advancements that laid groundwork for a third century of statehood. Lamar says state Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, who served as chairman of the commission, provided a challenge that every child in Alabama be able to see something from his or her own area in the park. “He gave us the charge that this needed to speak to the whole state,” Lamar says. In addition, children are incorporated in the sculpture as a reminder to young visitors that they are part of history One of the park’s panels depicts linemen bringing and can help electricity to a rural Marshall County school in 1939 make history. after construction of the Guntersville Dam and its The park was hydroelectric plant. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA

For artist Caleb O’Connor, that collaboration was welcome. “I viewed the opportunity to work with all those people as an asset in order to study the history, to get a fully understanding of what happened,” he says. O’Connor, who grew up in Hawaii, attended the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he studied painting, and was later awarded a Fulbright grant to study in Italy for nine months. He moved to Alabama in 2009, when he began working on a series of large-scale historical paintings for a federal courthouse, and today he operates an independent studio in Tuscaloosa. “I’m very familiar with the history of Alabama through other art projects that I have done,” O’Connor says, and he was attracted to the opportunity to study it more in depth. He also was drawn to the project because of his love of sculpture. “Being able to execute such a large scale public art project brought me close to the Italian masters I had studied,” O’Connor says. “To do projects of this scale with the art of high relief which is what you see all throughout Italy, it became exciting to me.” A documentary of the park’s development, “Alabama: In the Making,” is available on YouTube.

Plan your visit Alabama Bicentennial Park is located in the State Capitol complex near the intersection of Dexter Avenue and Bainbridge Street. It occupies the green spaces adjacent to the Lurleen Wallace Office Building and the Attorney General’s Building in the 500 block of Dexter Avenue. The park is open 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. year-round and is well lit at night. Admission is free. Metered street parking is available on several surrounding blocks. All street parking is free after 5 p.m. and on weekends.


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Advertisement High atop Lookout Mountain in Cherokee Rock Village near Leesburg

Text and photographs by Scott Baker

We called him “Deddy” – not Dad nor any other name. Perhaps in other regions, one would pronounce it ‘Daddy’ but not in rural Alabama. Some of my friends referred to their fathers as Dad. I tried but it never sounded right. It still doesn’t. Deddy was a gentle giant, worked construction all his life. He wasn’t college educated, but he sure was smart. Deddy didn’t say much, yet when he did, it was worth hearing. He lived by the rule, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Deddy enjoyed exploring; he’d exclaim, “Hop in the truck. Let’s go riding around.” That meant we were going cruising down two-lane country roads which often led to narrower and bumpier single-lane dirt roads. Eventually the dirt roads ended at an intersection where Deddy would question which way to go. Occasionally we had to turn around and go back the way we came, but we always found our way home. As a young boy, I didn’t understand the purpose of our excursions, but I was reminded of the treasure in these off-the-beaten-path memories last October when I was looking for out-ofthe-way places to photograph fall foliage. With as my guide, I spent a couple of days snooping around the Sipsey Wilderness in Bankhead National Forest. Following a visit to the Ave Maria Grotto in Cullman, I headed south to check out the three remaining original covered bridges in Alabama, located near Oneonta. My trip con18  SEPTEMBER 2021

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Holmes Chapel Falls in Bankhead National Forest near Double Springs, Alabama

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Holmes Chapel Falls in Sipsey Wilderness gets all the attention. Turn around and look downstream and the view is just as beautiful

Fall brings out the color of Horton Mill Covered Bridge near Oneonta

cluded with a sunset view of Weiss Lake from atop Lookout Mountain at Cherokee Rock Village, near Leesburg. Fall colors were bursting at the seams in Cleveland and beyond. The kaleidoscope of red, orange, and yellow leaves unfolded to the left and right of me in the Sipsey Wilderness. In my quest to enjoy the scenery and capture the most eye-popping colorful photos, I wandered down two-lane country roads with no destination in mind. Occasionally, a dirt road caught my attention, and I’d veer off just to see where it would lead. On a couple of occasions, I flipped a coin to determine which way to turn. In addition to finding within these North Alabama destinations some of the most beautiful places in the world to photograph fall foliage, I also discovered a

few things about myself. I cherished the peaceful solitude of an unfamiliar dirt road just outside of Double Springs and the sound of rustling leaves as a gentle breeze filled the forest in Bankhead National Forest. I got a thrill out of watching through my rearview mirror as a colorful flurry of leaves filled my back window like a shaken snow globe. I loved getting lost in my thoughts and time as I explored the backroads of North Alabama. It’s ironic how much I learned riding along those dirt roads. I spent many years living in big cities, yet I am still a small town boy from Alabama. My thirst for adventure and exploration doesn’t require me to venture far; I can find beauty tucked away in unexpected places when I slow down enough to take a look around.

Wherever I am, I can sense that I am a lot like my Deddy—still taking rides in the countryside, like a leaf that didn’t fall far from the tree. Trust me on this. Hopping in the truck for a Sunday afternoon excursion is the sweet kind of adventure that will be remembered for a lifetime. Scott Baker is an internationally published photojournalist based in Alexander City, Alabama. He is a contributing photographer to The New York Times and his work has been published in The London Sunday Times Magazine, Drift Magazine and many other regional publications. You can follow his work on Instagram: @scottbakerphotos.

Tell us about your childhood memories of riding around in the countryside with your Grandpa or Deddy. Send your stories to

Near Cleveland, Alabama, the road narrows and the views are spectacular Alabama Living

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| Worth the drive |

Fresh, local and healthy is on the menu

Patrons of the Alabama Grill can dine outside, inside or on the back deck.

By Lenore Vickrey


esa Bates and Allan Bloodworth know a thing or two about running restaurants. Resa started as a 12-year-old helping out on the farm and in her family’s famed restaurant, Bates House of Turkey in Greenville. She then continued to gain skills as a hostess, waiting tables and tending bar in Birmingham, Montgomery, Charleston, S.C, , Wyoming and New Orleans. Allan, who is also a carpenter, had opened a number of Montgomery restaurants over the years (Tomatino’s, the Olive Room and El Rey). Both of them learned much about the business while working for famed restaurant owners Harriet Crommelin of Kat & Harri’s and the late Bud Skinner, owner of Bud’s and Jubilee Seafood. Resa taught art in Montgomery area schools and in other cities for 20 years before she and Allan decided to take on their latest project in 2018: reopening the Alabama Grill, a favorite restaurant in downtown Greenville for more than 70 years. “It took us from August to October to tear this place apart,” she recalls. She and Allan did nearly all the work on the restaurant, originally built in the mid-1800s, themselves. “We did all the finish work, knocked the plaster off the walls, took up five layers of flooring and had to drop the ceiling,” she adds. “Just the two of us. Everything came out and the only thing we did not take off was the roof.” The result was a totally reworked business, offering only fresh, healthy, local food prepared to order. “I run the front of the house and Allan runs the back of the house,” she says. “One is not more important than the other. It takes both of us to make it work.” Asked what’s the most popular item on the menu, she replies, “It depends on what day it is. Sometimes it’s snapper and ribeyes. Sometimes it’s pizza.” They offer several different types of pizza, including the Liveakos (topped with Roma tomatoes, garlic, spinach, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts and red onions), a tribute to the grill’s original owner, Greek immigrant Mack Liveakos, who opened it in 1947. He sold it in 1960 to James Arthur, who operated it until it closed in 2001. “We sell a lot of burgers and we cut the fish every day,” says Resa. “Allan cuts steaks every night. There’s no food waste. There’s nothing fried on the menu. Everything is fresh.” She buys locally sourced food, from Birmingham-based Domestique coffee and Alabama craft beers to ice cream from Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe in Mobile. Seafood comes from the Gulf, and of course, the turkey comes from her family’s business. If

something is not listed on the menu, it means it’s not available that day. “Snapper is a special item because some weeks we can’t get it,” she explains. Plus, their storage space is limited and they don’t keep a lot of food on hand, preferring to sell it while it’s fresh. The pandemic forced them to close on Tuesdays and go to takeout-only orders in March 2020. Fortunately, they had already been using an online ordering platform before COVID. “During our shutdown I added a second online platform so gift cards could be used,” she says. They were glad to reopen their doors last September and resume serving guests in person. Their customers generally are local residents from Butler and adjoining counties, but “we have acquired a lot of regulars from out of town,” Resa says, “especially during hunting season.” The restaurant is on a main street in Greenville, where fresh food options are limited. “People are tired of fast food,” she notes, and sitting down at a table of a locally owned restaurant has its appeal. Business has been brisk, despite the pandemic-caused slowdown, and it’s not unusual for the staff to turn tables around three times in one night. “If you want a steak,” she advises, “come early.”

Resa Bates holds platters of two favorites, the grilled mahi mahi sandwich and the Liveakos Pizza, named for the original owner. PHOTO BY DANNY WESTON

Alabama Grill

109 W. Commerce St., Greenville, Al 36037 Hours: Wednesday-Friday 11 a.m.- 2 p.m., 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Saturday 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday Find the restaurant on Facebook 20  SEPTEMBER 2021

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Alabama Living

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| Alabama People |

David Housel

Tackling more than just football Writer Lewis Grizzard once referred to David Housel as an Auburn evangelist. With more than 40 years of service to the university, his name is almost synonymous with the loveliest village on the Plains and especially with Auburn athletics. He graduated from AU with a degree in journalism in 1969, worked in the ticket office, taught journalism and was the adviser to the school newspaper, became assistant sports information director and eventually sports information director and athletic director. He retired in 2005 and still lives in Auburn and is considered an unofficial historian of the school. He’s written several books over the years, most about Auburn and/ or sports, but his new work, From the Backbooth at Chappy’s, with the subtitle Stories of the South: Football, Politics, Religion and More, published this summer by Archway Publishing, goes beyond those previous themes. The book is a compilation of short essays garnered from innumerable conversations at the Auburn location of the New York-style deli. His appreciation for the perspectives of others comes through in the book; his pleasant nature, sense of humor and affable style help you understand why so many friends like to gather around that back booth. – Allison Law


Your other books have been mostly about athletics. Yes, and Auburn (athletics) in particular. But this one, it’s been said is “Housel unleashed,” because I’m not bound to the athletic genre, and I’m not really bound to writing about Auburn. If you’re writing for a certain publication – for example, if I was writing in the football program, I had to say things that were positive about the football program. Not that I would say anything that was negative, but I was limited in what I can say and what I can write. But this one, I’m free, and I can say, and did say, whatever I wanted to say and however I felt it.

As I say, it’s more than about football. You’ve had several signings now. Talk about meeting friends and fans at those signings. I don’t know that I have any fans, but I am blessed to have a lot of friends. It’s been good and uplifting and heartwarming to see people who want to get the book, who want to come out and say hello, who’ve been friends for a long time, many of whom I haven’t seen in a long time. That’s really been the joy of all this – reconnecting with people. I like it when they buy a book, but I like them even if they don’t buy a book (laughs). You started out teaching journalism at Auburn? That was part of it. I graduated in journalism in 1969. In August of 1969, I went to the Huntsville News. At the time the largest morning newspaper in the Tennessee Valley. It might help that it was the only morning newspaper in the Tennessee Valley. I was news editor there for about a year. I came back to the athletic department in the ticket office, and I was there for two years. I taught journalism for nine years and was adviser to the Plainsman. Do you miss teaching? I miss interacting with the students. I (would get) tired of the subject matter, but never got tired of interacting with the students. Now in retirement, I host a book club in the Honors College at Auburn, and every term I have about 12 to 14 Honors College students, and we meet once a week. They pick books, and we read books and talk about books. I really, really enjoy that contact with the students. Folks talk about how young people are going to hell. I totally disagree with that. People need to come and interact with the students I have in this book club. They’re smarter than we ever were, because the world’s different. They have good values, and they’re grounded. I feel good about the future because we’ve got good students. Young people are our future, and I believe in them. These folks who are criticizing them, they just don’t interact with them. Do you still follow Auburn athletics? I follow them. I certainly want Auburn to be successful and to win, but I have to say, I don’t live and die by it anymore. Yes, I still care. But I’m not carrying the sword anymore. Younger generations are carrying the sword. “Old soldiers never die, they just fade away,” like McArthur said, and I’m in the fading away process. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care. Do you think you’ll write another book? I have this Facebook page; I like and post things in there occasionally. I don’t plan on writing another book, (but) I don’t say I won’t. Since this book has come out, I think I’ve written a few things that are worthy of another book, but I don’t know if I will have enough time or enough of those kinds of stories. I’m just going to enjoy this one and see where this goes.

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Alabama Living

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| Gardens |

Planning and planting for the future Wildflowers:

Though technically these are herbaceous perennials category, I believe wildflowers — especially native species — deserve special consideration for fall planting. Most can be planted from seed sprinkled onto loosened soil (no trowel or shovel needed, though a rake will be useful) then pressed lightly into the soil using your own two feet or a roller. They require little to no additional water or fertilizer and come back year after year. Use a seed mixture of different species — coneflowers, coreopsis, daisies, bee balm, salvias and many others — and you’ll have something flowering almost all year long. The local birds, bees and other wildlife and insects will thank you, too. Woody perennials, like this azalea, benefit from an early fall planting. PHOTO COURTESY ALABAMA COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SYSTEM


ow and on through the fall is the ideal time here in Alabama (and elsewhere) to add all kinds of plants — from ornamentals to edibles, many of which may be on sale this time of year — to our garden beds and landscapes. It’s an especially good time to plant perennials (any plant species that lives longer than two years) with an eye on the coming gardening year. Fall is ideal because its cooler air temperatures reduce heat stress on plants (and gardeners) and lower pest and weed pressures. Meanwhile, soils tend to remain warm, and rainfall is often abundant in the fall, both of which help plants establish deeper, stronger root systems before winter arrives. This combination of conditions gives fall-planted plants a leg up on those planted in the winter or spring. Another plus: you’ll have plenty to do this spring so planting now frees up time for next year’s gardening chores. If you’re finding it difficult to even entertain the idea of fall planting when summer is not yet done, use this month to plan for October through December when the weather should be perfect for gardening work. Katie Jackson is a freelance writer and editor based in Opelika, Alabama. Contact her at

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Start by identifying places in the yard and garden that need new plants, then figure out what plants you want to use in those places. Get a soil test for those sites and add amendments as needed. You may need to order plants, especially bulbs and seeds, so make that a priority this month, too. While you can plant lots and lots of things in the fall, including cool season annuals and bi-annuals and sod, here are a few suggestions of tried-and-true perennials to get you started.

Spring bulbs:

Daffodils, hyacinth, crocus, tulips and other bulbs are almost always one of the first signs of spring and most tolerate any well-drained soil type (they will rot if the ground is too wet). They can be used in flower beds, open meadows and lawns, under deciduous trees and shrubs and in containers.

Herbaceous perennials:

Many flowering perennials do spectacularly well when planted in the fall, some of which may even put on a brief show of flowers soon after planting and pop out in full bloom in the spring. The list is extensive but among the best to plant in the fall are asters, hellebores, peonies and phlox. Fall is also a great time to divide existing perennials, including irises to replant them elsewhere in the yard or give to fellow gardeners.

Woody perennials:

Most trees, shrubs and vines benefit from fall planting, including winter and early spring bloomers (camellias, azaleas, rhododendrons, forsythias, dogwoods, redbuds and silverbells, for example) and late spring/summer beauties (hydrangeas, magnolias, gardenias and crepe myrtles to name a few). Ball-and-burlap or container-grown plants are best to plant in the fall, and bare-root plants in the spring; it’s always worth taking the time to dig and prepare the holes properly. (See recommendations for each plant.) It’s also important to water them well after planting and keep watering them through the drier winter weather. These are just a few of many things to plant this fall, so take a little break from your summer work and explore the possibilities. You’ll be glad you did.

SEPTEMBER TIPS • Avoid heavy fertilizing or pruning for

most plants so they don’t put on new, delicate growth that can be injured by freezes. • Test soils and amend them with compost, manure and other needed nutrients. • Plant cover crops. • Plant garlic, onions and shallots. • Plant cool-season vegetables and flowers. • Prepare bird feeders and baths for the fall migration.

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One more round of thoughts about pet abandonment


he last article was about pet overpopulation and abandonment. As expected, it generated strong passions and I got more emails than usual. It is evident that everyone who took the time to write cares deeply about the welfare of our pets. One reader suggested going deeper into the legislative process and increasing fines for dumping live animals. This is definitely a good suggestion. The problem is who is, going to enforce it? We need political will and people in power to care. Another reader was slightly upset that I did not propose spay-neuter as a solution. My heartfelt thanks to the great folks who are involved in the rescue/spay/neuter and re-homing of abandoned pets. I support spay/neuter programs with passion. I worked in Philadelphia SPCA in the late ’90s and spent many days doing just spay and neuters. The problem is, this pathway, albeit very important, cannot quite help us solve the bigger problem. We cannot spay/neuter animals who do not walk through the doors of a spay-neuter clinic. We need regulatory changes. We need licensing laws (and a way to enforce the laws), and we need higher licensing fees for intact dogs above a certain age. Another person thought that in our county, there are so many abandoned pets because we do not have spay-neuter vouchers. Another wonderful idea. Spay-neuter vouchers help, but first, people have to be motivated to spay or neuter. Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He owns High Falls Holistic Veterinary Care near Geraldine, Alabama. To suggest topics for future discussions, email him at

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It is not an easy task to change people’s minds. How do we teach our fellow citizens about thinking beyond their own yard, or even letting their dogs roam free? You would not believe how many people told me that they do not believe in restricting their dog’s movements (free-roaming) and how many ladies have told me that their counterparts refuse to neuter their dogs! To summarize, we need: • Better laws (rules, or safety agreements if you please) • Better enforcement • Better access to inexpensive spay-neuter programs and, maybe • Better awareness (I am not banking on this one; call me a cynic). The bottom line is that we’re not going to solve this problem tomorrow! To show you how difficult it is to make any meaningful change, a bipartisan bill about unlawful outdoor restraints for dogs (TX Senate Bill 474) passed both houses with flying colors and then got vetoed by the governor. We have our own examples, but that will be hitting too close to home! But, no matter how hard things are, we do not quit. Please make friends with your local legislators. Drop by the mayor’s office one day, take the council some goodies, thank them for the hard work they do, and tell them as voters, you are interested in reducing loose dogs, abandoned dogs, or whatever may move you. By the way, did you know that you can support your favorite animal support groups without spending a penny with smile. We shop at Amazon all the time. Why not shop through smile.Amazon and help support these poor creatures for free?

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Are you ready for retirement? Social Security can help


o you think you may be ready to retire and want to apply for Social Security benefits? We’re here to help you make an informed decision about when to apply for benefits based on your individual and family circumstances. Would it be better for you to start getting benefits early with a smaller monthly amount over a longer period? Or perhaps wait for a larger monthly payment over less time? The answer is personal and depends on several factors, such as your current and anticipated cash needs, your health, and your family history on longevity. You should consider other sources of retirement income including any plans you may have to work in retirement. Most importantly, you should study your future financial needs and obligations, and estimate your future Social Security benefit. The easiest way to estimate your future Social Security benefits is with a personal my Social Security account. You can create your free account at With your account you Kylle’ McKinney, SSA Public Affairs Specialist, can be reached by email at

September Across 1 Tigers’ new football coach, Brian ____ 4 Crimson Tide’s mascot, 2 words 9 Tigers’ quarterback, Bo 10 Greek salad fruit 11 Dog holder at a ballgame 13 Rub the wrong way 14 Wings it on stage, 2 words 16 Crimson Tide standout receiver now with the Titans, Julio 18 The Tigers’ third Heisman Trophy winner, last name 19 Arts degree 24 Atmosphere 26 Quarterback essential 27 One of the Crimson Tide’s best ever quarterbacks, Tua ____ 31 Alternative word 32 Overnight stay place 34 Engaging new players 35 College football groups Down 1 “Best Offensive Lineman of all time” who played under Bear Bryant, John ____ 2 Favorite dog name 3 Annual rivalry game between the Tide and the Tigers, 2 words 5 Refrigerator’s ancestor 6 Tigers’ mascot 7 Standings stat 8 Sign, the contract for example 12 Major or Minor Bear in the sky 15 Moon related 17 Pat Dye and Bear Bryant were famous for it 20 Game at the opposition’s stadium 21 Randall Woodfin, for Birmingham 22 Small samples 28  SEPTEMBER 2021

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can see how much you might receive each month based on the age you want to start receiving benefits. We encourage you to weigh all the factors carefully before making the crucial decision about when to begin receiving Social Security benefits. This decision affects the monthly benefit amount you will receive for the rest of your life, and may affect benefits for your survivors.

Social Security’s Retirement Portal

Whether you’re ready to learn about, apply for, or manage your retirement benefits, our retirement portal makes it easy for you to find the information you need. How easy? You can do it from your computer, tablet, and even smartphone! In our retirement portal, you can: • Get our Retirement publications. • Estimate your benefits with one of our many calculators. • Find your Full Retirement Age. • Learn about retirement benefits for a spouse and family members. You and your loved ones can discover all of these resources at

crossword 23 Baseball area 25 Way back when 28 Joke

by Myles Mellor

29 Roman 7 30 Raggedy doll 33 Cellist Yo-Yo ___

Answers on Page 45

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September | Around Alabama


Gadsden Art on the Rocks at the Falls, juried arts and craft show. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days at Noccalula Falls. Adults $6; seniors, military and children 3-12 $4; children 3 and under free. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.



Arab Sugarfest, Arab City Park on Shoal Creek Trail NE. 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. This festival is organized by volunteers who work to promote culture and community. The marketplace will have vendors and food trucks; there will also be a 5K race, Miss Sugarfest pageant, a kids’ area with rides, carnival-themed games, a petting zoo and more. The pool and splash pad will be open free of charge. In the afternoon is a cornhole tournament, classic car show and outdoor concert; local acts begin at 4 p.m. Fireworks begin at 8:15 p.m.


Scottsboro 47th annual Art Sunday, sponsored by the Scottsboro Three Arts Club. King Caldwell Park, 1002 South Broad St. 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Show features fine arts and crafts, a children’s area, food and entertainment. Proceeds from the show serve the community through art and educational endeavors. Email for information.


Cullman 25th annual Sweet Tater Festival at Smith Lake Park. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. Arts and crafts vendors, food vendors, car show and of course, sweet potatoes. Admission $5; armbands are good for both days. or 256-739-2916.


Troy Fall Market on the square in downtown. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Arts and crafts, family-friendly fun and more. Search Downtown Troy Alabama on Facebook.


Fayette 51st annual Fayette Arts Festival. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Guthrie Smith Park. Arts and crafts vendors, food and live entertainment. Search Fayette Arts Festival on Facebook.


Trussville Trussville City Fest, 8 a.m. throughout the city; starts near the new entertainment district and ends at Veterans Park, 109 Parkway Drive. Farmer’s market, marketplace/ booth vendors, food court, kids’ area, art show, live music, cornhole tournament, pup strut and car show. Free.


Fort Payne Boom Days annual festival. Downtown shopping, local artisans, familyfriendly activities, gospel singing and live music acts: Damon Johnson and the Get Ready as well as Aeromyth on Friday, and the Bellamy Brothers and headliner Sawyer Brown on Saturday. Free.


Prattville gigantic flea market at the Doster Center, 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. Free. 334595-0800.


Fort Rucker Oktoberfest, celebrating German culture. Live German music, authentic German cuisine and beer, as well as events for children, teens and adults and a variety of vendors. Rucker. special-events

Birmingham’s annual Fiesta celebrates the rich and storied history of Alabama’s PHOTO COURTESY OF FIESTA Hispanic community.


Birmingham 19th annual Fiesta, Alabama’s largest celebration of Hispanic culture and heritage. 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Linn Park. The festival provides family-friendly fun with the best of Hispanic art, music, food and dance. There are children’s activities, soccer, cultural education performing arts, visual arts as well as community and health-related resources. Admission $10; children 12 and under are free.


Hokes Bluff Hokes Bluff City Fest 2021. Food, arts and crafts and business vendors; Lions Club breakfast ($5) from 7 to 9 a.m., and Hot Rod Happenin’ Cruise-In from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free kids’ zone with carnival rides from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Live music starts at 3 p.m.; bring lawn chairs. Hokes Bluff City Park. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.



Pinson Alabama Butterbean Festival, 6 to 10 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, on Main Street in downtown Pinson. Entertainment, food, arts and crafts and a carnival.

To place an event, e-mail or visit You can also mail to Events Calendar, P.O. Box 244014, Montgomery, AL 36124; Each submission must include a contact name and phone number. Deadline is two months prior to issue date. We regret that we cannot publish every event due to space limitations. Alabama Living

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Boaz 57th annual Boaz Harvest Festival, on Highway 168 just off U.S. Highway 431. 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Classic car, truck and jeep show, arts and crafts vendors, beauty pageant, cornhole tournament, pumpkin contest, food trucks and all kinds of live music. 256-593-8154.


Oxford Oxfordfest annual arts and crafts festival on Main Street. Vendors from all over, food, live music, fun for all ages, hourly prize drawings and a $1,000 giveaway. Proceeds benefit local charities and food banks.


Ozark Claybank Jamboree Arts and Crafts Festival, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown Ozark. Food vendors, arts and crafts, live music, children’s activities and more.


Hoover 58th annual Bluff Park Art Show, The Park at Shades Cliff, 517 Cloudland Drive, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Live music, food trucks, handmade art from regional artists and interactive hands-on activities for children.


Millbrook Angelfest 2021, held at St. Michael and All Angels’ Episcopal Church, 5941 Main St. Favorite vendors as well as special new vendors this year. Local artisans will have items for sale; also a silent auction. Homemade goods at the bake sale and pre-ordered Boston butts available. Food trucks will have lunch options. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Search for the event’s page on Facebook.

Call or verify events before you make plans to attend. Due to the changing nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events may change or be canceled after press time. Like Alabama Living on facebook Follow Alabama Living on Twitter @Alabama_Living

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Serpent saving

Don’t mess with the business end of an eastern diamondback rattlesnake. One of the largest and heaviest snakes in North America, an eastern diamondback could grow longer than seven feet and carries a potent venom.

Professional snake removers ‘educate, not eradicate’

Story and photos by John N. Felsher


omething slithering in the neighborhood? Who ya gonna legs and can hide anywhere. call? (People under 40, ask your parents about the above “There is a lot of fear about snakes, mainly because people lack reference.) education about the truth of snakes,” explains Hay, who is from In 2013, longtime friends and reptile enthusiasts Mark Hay and Shelby County. “People tell a lot of old myths and stories passed Frankie Ferguson co-founded Alabama Snake Removers with the down from generation to generation about snakes. For instance, motto “Educate Not Eradicate.” They and some people think a cottonmouth will their associates throughout the Cotton chase a person or a coachwhip can turn State respond when people call and want itself into a hoop and roll down a hill. Neisnakes removed from their properties. ther are true.” Someone from ASR will come to the propMore than 40 non-venomous snake speerty, safely remove the reptiles and relocate cies and six venomous ones call Alabama them elsewhere. home. Venomous snakes can kill people, “Since we were children, we always had but that seldom happens. Both venomous a passion for snakes,” says Ferguson, forand non-venomous snakes consume many merly from Childersburg, but currently vermin species, such as rats and mice that residing in the Daphne area. “We decided can carry diseases harmful to humans. to create something to help people who are King snakes kill and eat venomous snakes. scared of snakes. We also want to educate The distinguishing feature of a rattlesnake, “Most snakes are non-venomous and like this eastern diamondback, is the people on the importance of snakes and harmless,” Hay says. “Venomous snakes rattling structure on its tail. The rattles are why they shouldn’t kill them. At the same hollow interlocked segments made of keratin can be very dangerous and shouldn’t be time, we want to save the animals from a that make a rattling noise when it shakes its tail. taken lightly. They should be given the bad situation and release them back into This serves as a warning not to come any closer. respect they deserve. Snakes are native the wild.” to Alabama and highly beneficial for a Many people inherently fear snakes. Some people become alhealthy ecosystem. Venom from different snakes can be used for most hysterical when they see one. Some people theorize that this medicines that treat many illnesses, such as some cancers. Copinnate phobia dates all the way back to the serpent in the Garden perhead venom is being researched to treat breast cancer. Some of Eden. Others dislike snakes because they look creepy with no rattlesnake venom is in current heart medications.” 30  SEPTEMBER 2021

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Alabama Living

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From left, Leslie Norris James holds a timber rattlesnake, Mark Hay holds a diamondback rattlesnake, and Frankie Ferguson holds a copperhead. All three venomous snakes are native to Alabama.

The largest and heaviest snake in Alabama, an eastern diamondback rattlesnake, can deliver a nasty bite that can kill or maim people. The biggest one on record measured 7.8 feet long and weighed 34 pounds. Alabamians might also encounter timber and pygmy rattlers. Cottonmouths, also called water moccasins, live in swamps, marshes, lakes, rivers, ponds and anywhere else they can find water. People could also see copperheads. “In two weeks, I removed four adult rattlesnakes from a lady’s house,” recalls Hay, a housebuilder by trade. “On the second call to her house, she told me about a rattlesnake under her house. I crawled under the house and there wasn’t much room to maneuver under there. The snake got behind me and around my foot. I just caught movement in my peripheral vision. He wasn’t trying to sneak up on me to bite me. He just wanted to figure out an escape route. Luckily, I spotted him and caught him or that could have ended badly.” The most venomous snake in Alabama and one of the rarest, eastern coral snakes grow to about 3.5 feet long. A relative of cobras, it can inject a potent neurotoxin that attacks the nervous system. Fortunately, few people encounter this colorful snake and even more rarely does one bite anyone. People often confuse these snakes with alternating yellow, black and red bands with similar looking non-venomous snakes. An old saying, “Red touch black, venom lack” would indicate a harmless snake. “Red touch yellow, kill a fellow” means a coral snake. “Ever since I was a child, all I’ve ever wanted to do was to save snakes,” Ferguson says. “We do this because we love snakes and we’re tired of seeing them getting killed. We love animals and want to educate people on their importance. We want to keep snakes alive so future generations can see them.”

Helping homeowners

When Hay or others receive a snake call, they first try to identify the species. Most people, especially ones deathly afraid of all snakes, can’t tell the various species apart, but describing it can help the removers make a better removal plan. Handlers must take extra precautions with venomous snakes. “Once we’re called, we recommend people keep an eye on the

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snake as best as they can, but from a safe distance,” Hay says. “We ask them to watch where the snake goes, but not chase it. If we know approximately where it was last spotted, we can find it quicker. The main thing is to keep safe. If the person doesn’t feel safe or comfortable, we can work other ways to get it.” Hay will dispatch an associate closest to that snake, someone like Leslie Norris James from Semmes, to go capture the serpent. She started catching snakes at eight years old and now serves as the vice president of Reptile Education Awareness Conservation and Husbandry in Mobile. She regularly conducts reptile awareness shows to promote environmental education. “I was always the crazy girl who played with snakes,” she says. “A lot of people won’t come in my house because I keep venomous snakes. My grandfather was deathly afraid of them and killed every snake that crossed his path. I started trying to get to them before he did. I wanted to move them to different places. I also want to educate people about our native snakes and how important they are to the ecosystem so they should not be killed. They’re so misunderstood and that fear is ingrained from generation to generation.” Removers like James typically use hooked rods to catch snakes without harming them. They don’t hook into the snake, like someone gaffing a fish, or lasso it. Instead, they get the snake to rest on the hook so they can better control it. “We slide the hook under the snake gently,” Ferguson says. “If we can get it by the tail and keep the hook under it, it will stay calm. We try to touch the snake with our hands as little as possible. If someone uses tongs to grab the snake, it’s immediately going to react defensively. I don’t ever want to pin a snake’s head down. If we find a venomous snake, we secure it in a proper container so we can safely relocate it to an area and release it away from people.” Many people consider the timber rattlesnake one of the most beautiful snakes in the world. A timber rattler doesn’t get quite as big as its diamondback cousins but can still inflict injury with its potent venom.

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Alabama Living

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| Alabama Recipes |

Meemaw's Broccoli Casserole


’ve always regretted that my grandparents left this world before I was born, because I’m sure I would have loved to have known them. I would have especially liked being around my grandmothers, one from Pennsylvania and the other from Alabama, who were wonderful cooks (or so I’m told). They passed their love of cooking down to their children, my parents, aunts and uncles, and certain dishes that they made live on in family recipe files. My father’s mother (she was called Mumsie by her grands, owing to our family’s British heritage) had a recipe for mustard pickle, or piccalilli, that my mother would make for my father and us. This relish used chopped gherkins, green tomatoes, cauliflower, green and yellow peppers and other vegetables, all covered in a sweet, tangy sauce made with vinegar, sugar, and mustard, among other spices. It was a great side dish for any meat, especially for big Sunday dinners. I also have the origPhoto by Lenore Vickrey inal recipe my aunt (like a grandmother to me) used for a cooked sweet-sour mustard sauce, another good addition for meats and sandwiches, especially ham. Many of our recipes came from our neighbors and friends in Pennsylvania whose ancestors emigrated from Europe, including stuffed cabbage rolls (called holubkies in Slovakia), and sauerkraut and pork (from Germany and brought to the states by the Pennsylvania Dutch). On my mother’s side, the recipes were for more traditional Southern dishes. In her recipe box, which I treasure, there have to be at least a dozen or more recipes for pound cake and various fruit pies. Her beef roast was unmatched, as was her fried okra. One of her specialties was what we called corn pone, made with cornmeal and hot water and fried in an iron skillet. Split one open while it’s hot and slip a pat of butter inside – heavenly. Neither she nor my Aunt Helen had a written recipe that we can find, but then, like the best cooks, they probably didn’t need one. What recipes from your grandparents do you treasure? We’ve printed a few of the submissions we got for this month, but let us hear from you. Email us at - Lenore Vickrey 34  SEPTEMBER 2021

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Pasta e Fagioli (Pasta and Beans) Preparing beans: 1/2 pound white navy or pea beans 6 cups cold water (option: can use chicken broth for a fuller flavor) 1/4 cup olive oil 2 garlic cloves, crushed Salt and pepper to taste

Photo by The Buttered Home

When I think of my grandmother, I have some of the best memories of being in her kitchen and around her table. I could name dozens of recipes that remind me of her. One of my fondest memories is of her making us salt pork for breakfast. She also loved to use pork cracklings, a very Brooke Burks different kind of food, in her cooking for lots of different recipes. Like most foods you find at The Buttered Home, they are chock full of memories. I am honored to share with you a favorite she often made, Cracklin’ Cornbread. Cracklin’ Cornbread is a true Southern dish, made with a traditional cornbread recipe and buttermilk. We take succulent pork cracklings (commonly called pork belly, cracklings come from the layer of fat above the bacon on a pig; they have a little skin (pork rind), fat, and a meat similar to bacon) and bake them up in a cake of cornbread for a delicious surprise in every bite. (Note: You can purchase cracklings in the butcher section of your grocery store.) For more memory-filled recipes, check us out at

Cracklin’ Cornbread 1/4 cup butter 2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix 1/2 cup plain flour 21/2 cups buttermilk 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup cooked pork cracklings Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Chop cracklings carefully with a knife into bite-size pieces. Sometime cracklings can be kind of big and irregular in size. Chopping them gets them a little smaller and more uniform. Add eggs to buttermilk and lightly beat. Add in cracklings and allow to sit in buttermilk and egg mixture. Mix well. Place butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place in the oven while it preheats. Allow the butter to melt while you prepare your ingredients. Once everything is mixed, carefully remove the skillet right when you are ready to pour in your batter. Sift flour and cornmeal together and place in a large mixing bowl. Add in wet ingredients and mix well. Pour batter in the hot skillet on top of the melted butter. Do not mix. Bake 25-30 minutes until browned. Cool and remove from pan and enjoy! Alabama Living

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Wash beans thoroughly and discard any imperfect ones. Put cold water (or broth) in large pot. Add beans, garlic, oil, salt and pepper. Simmer until beans are tender, about 11/2 hours. Marinara sauce: 1 garlic clove, chopped Pinch dried red pepper flakes, basil and mint 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 8-ounce can tomatoes Salt and pepper, to taste In small heavy skillet, slowly sauté garlic and seasonings in the olive oil on low heat until golden brown. Add tomatoes and a pinch more of each of the seasonings. Add salt and pepper to taste. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes on low heat. To finish soup: 1 teaspoon salt 2 quarts water 1/2 pound small shells or elbow macaroni Parmesan cheese, freshly grated Add salt to water and heat to boiling in a large saucepan. Gradually add pasta. Boil rapidly, uncovered, about 12 minutes or until al dente. Reserving 1 cup of liquid, drain pasta in a colander, rinsing under cold water to prevent sticking. Reserve. When beans are tender, add the drained pasta and the marinara sauce to the pot. If more broth is desired, add the 1 cup of liquid from Photo by Brooke Echols the pasta. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Ladle into large soup dishes and sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately or the pasta will swell and absorb all the soup. "I have fond memories of watching my maternal grandmother make this. Good eating!" Janice Bracewell Covington EC

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Cook of the Month: Katrina M. Adams Black Warrior EMC

As a little girl, Katrina Adams remembers when the brown bowl in her mother’s kitchen was brought out, it was time to make something sweet. Her grandmother loved lemon desserts, and growing up in Perry and Marengo counties in southwest Alabama, her mother, Mary Windham, would make the cake for their family. “She would make it all the time for my grandmother and she loved it,” Katrina says. “She inspired me to learn how to cook as a little girl because she did it with so much love and passion, just as well as her mother. Coming from a family of eight boys and eight girls, my mother learned to cook at a young age and is still whipping up marvelous meals many years later.” When she lived in Indiana, Mrs. Windham would make 10 cakes at a time to take on trips back to her home state of Alabama. “I remember counting out six eggs, melting the butter and mixing it all up for a delicious moist pound cake.” The moistness is due partly to the Miracle Whip, which Katrina added when she started baking it. Swan’s Down Cake Flour is another must ingredient to get the right texture, she adds. Katrina is a food blogger ( and event planner, has won several national contests for her recipes, including on and Taste of Home, and has authored a cookbook, Knock Out Cancer in the Kitchen, available on Amazon.

Lemon Pound Cake 6 large eggs 3 cups granulated sugar 1½ cups butter (3 sticks melted butter) 3 cups Swans Down Cake Flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 5 tablespoons lemon extract 4-5 tablespoons Miracle Whip 3 tablespoons sour cream Cream butter and sugar together; add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly. Add lemon flavor, sour cream, and Miracle Whip. Next, add cake flour and baking powder. Mix until smooth. Spray tube cake pan with baking spray and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Supper on a Bread Slice


2/3 cup evaporated milk 11/2 pounds ground beef 1/4 cup bell pepper 1/2 cup onion, chopped 1/2 cup Ritz cracker crumbs 1 egg 1 tablespoon prepared mustard 11/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper 1 loaf French bread 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated


Combine first 9 ingredients in a bowl. Cut French bread in half lengthwise. Spread meat mixture evenly over top surface of bread. Wrap aluminum foil around crust side of each of the sides, leaving top uncovered. Place on cookie sheet. Bake in moderate 350 degree oven for 25 minutes. Garnish with grated cheese. Cook 5 minutes longer. To serve, cut slices across diagonally. Patty Blankenship Pea River Electric Photo by Brooke Echols

to the winning

Cook of the Month!

Please send us your original recipes, developed by you or family members. You may adapt a recipe from another source by changing as little as the amount of one ingredient. Cook of the Month winners will receive $50, and may win “Cook of the Month” only once per calendar year. To be eligible, submissions must include a name, phone number, mailing address and co-op name. Alabama Living reserves the right to reprint recipes in our other publications.

Themes and Deadlines: December : Holiday Cookie Contest | September 3 January: Homemade Breads | October 1 February: Chicken | November 5

3 ways to submit: Online: Email: Mail: Recipes, P.O. Box 244014 Montgomery, AL 36124

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Granny's Chocolate Pie 1 1/4 1/3 5 2 3 1 2 1

cup sugar teaspoon salt cup flour tablespoons cocoa cups milk eggs teaspoon vanilla tablespoons butter pie shell Meringue, optional for topping

Mix sugar, salt, flour and cocoa in saucepan. Stir in gradually 2 cups milk. Cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly until mixture thickens and boils. Boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Slowly stir half the mixture into the 3 eggs which have been slightly beaten. Then blend into hot mixture in saucepan. Boil 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and blend in butter and vanilla. Pour into baked pie shell and top with meringue if desired. "My Granny Cordle was famous for her chocolate pies. We could not wait to eat them at all our family reunions." Jane Kendrick Coosa Valley EC

Meemaw's Broccoli Casserole 3 pounds fresh or frozen broccoli 1 medium onion, chopped 1 can Progresso mushroom soup 3 eggs 1 pound medium cheddar cheese, grated 1 8-ounce can water chestnuts, drained and chopped 1 cup mayonnaise 11/2 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon pepper Steam broccoli and onion until fork tender. In a large bowl, mix together all other ingredients. Mash broccoli and onion with potato masher. Add it to the large bowl with other ingredients, stir well. Pour mixture into a 9x13-inch casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until the top has browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Maw Maw's Salmon Patties

Photo by Brooke Echols

Maw Maw’s Salmon Patties

Pink Fluff

2 3 1 2 2 2 3 1/2

1 1 1 2 1 1

cans red salmon (or pink) eggs cup flour teaspoons ground mustard teaspoons poultry seasoning teaspoons garlic powder teaspoons celery salt onion, chopped

Pick through salmon to get all bones and skin off. Add eggs, flour and seasonings. Mixture should not be dry or soupy. Spoon into hot oil, enough to cover half of patties. Cook until golden brown. "Recipe by my husband’s grandmother."

can cherry pie filling can pineapple chunks can sweetened condensed milk cups mini marshmallows cup chopped walnuts 8-ounce container Cool Whip

Stir all ingredients together. Refrigerate 2 hours and serve. "My grandparents would bring this dish to every family event. Some say it’s a side dish, others say it’s a dessert." Kirk Vantrease Cullman EC

Elizabeth Chandler Black Warrior EMC

Vanessa Bowen Cullman EC Alabama Living

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| Outdoors |

Alabama men win turkey calling championships Kenny Weiss, Jr. shows off the plaque he earned by winning the Gobbling Division world championship during 2021 World Championship Turkey Calling Contest, held June 11-12, 2021, in Mobile, Ala. PHOTO BY JOHN N. FELSHER


wo Alabama men earned world championship titles during the 2021 World Turkey Calling Championships, held recently in Mobile. Kenny Weiss Jr., 24, of Mobile won the gobbling championship to earn his second world title in three years. In 2019, he won his first world championship, also in his hometown. That year Weiss took the owl hooting honors. In 2021, Mitchell Johnston took second and Wayne Dozier placed third for gobbling. “It’s really exciting to win my second world championship in my hometown,” Weiss says. “I’m glad to have the championship back in Mobile. I felt really confident about my calling when I finished, but a lot of tough callers competed. I felt I did a clean run, but I had some serious competition.” Craig Wolfe of Auburn won the open division championship by only 3.5 points. Wade Watson placed second, followed by Wayne Dozier. In the open division, the contestants could make sounds with the calls of their choice. “I’ve been competing for 12 years, and this is my first world championship,” Wolfe says. “The competition is always tough at these events. I just wanted to do the best run I had ever done. I felt pretty good after I finished, but there’s always something I could do better. I like that the contest is held in Alabama, so I didn’t have too far to travel to compete.” For the friction competition, callers could only use friction calls, which make sounds by rubbing two objects together. In this event, Ben Chamberlain of Claysburg, Pa., earned his third world championship title. The 44-year-old has been competing in turkey calling contests for 34 years. Chamberlain beat Tanner Norris by half a point. Bruce Saale finished third. Only six points separated the top nine callers in the highly competitive contest. “This one means more to me than my first one,” Chamberlain says. “When someone wins a world championship, it’s special. I’m proud and excited. I knew when I walked off the stage that I had called John N. Felsher is a professional freelance writer who lives in Semmes, well. I had one of the cleanest runs Ala. He also hosts an outdoors tips show I’ve had in a long time, but I didn’t for WAVH FM Talk 106.5 radio station in know if I was going to win. Many Mobile, Ala. Contact him at j.felsher@ or through Facebook. great callers competed.”

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More than 70 of the top turkey callers in the world came to Mobile from at least 18 other states. Competitors performed a list of designated calls for each event. During the competitions, judges hid behind a screen so they couldn’t see the competitors. Event staff assigned each caller a different number for every event. To avoid the appearance of bias, the judges only heard the number, so they didn’t know the identity of anyone on the stage during the scoring. Top scores often came down to fractions. “At this level, everyone has to be almost perfect,” says Kenny Weiss Sr., the event organizer. “We saw some very close scores in all the contests. We had people come from all over to compete. This contest is sanctioned by the National Wild Turkey Federation, so the world champions qualify for life to compete in the NWTF Grand National Calling Championships.” In other competitions, Shane Martinez won the owling event, followed by Tater Rich and Robert Huber. One of the more popular spectator events, the team challenge involves two callers acting out given scenarios as if they were turkeys. J.R. Lanham and Mitchell Johnston won the challenge. Matthew Presley and Shane Martinez came in second, followed by Wayne Dozier and Jared Lowe. In addition, callers could compete in various age and skill divisions. Callers 10 years old or younger competed in the poult division. Those between the ages of 11 and 15 competed in the junior division. The intermediate division included callers 16 to 20 years old. Anyone of any age could compete in the amateur division if they had never won a previous championship. Lann Wilf won the amateur division, followed by Travis Godwin and Cassie Berkhimer. In the intermediate division, Matthew Presley placed first with Godwin second. Chase Roberts won the junior division, followed by Berkhimer. Mason Johnston topped the poult division with Isabella Sanderson taking second and Tristan Williamson earning third. The first World Turkey Calling Championship took place in Mobile on Jan. 4, 1940, but it went elsewhere for decades. Kenny Weiss Sr. was instrumental in bringing the contest back to Mobile in 2019. The 2020 contest was canceled due to the pandemic. For more information, call Weiss at 251-6056077 or email

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Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th

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Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su

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8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 9:54 - 11:54 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 A.M.

8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 10:54 - 12:54 11:18 - 1:18 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30 9:18 - 11:18 10:06 - 12:06 NA 12:30 - 2:30 1:18 - 3:18 2:06 - 4:06 2:54 - 4:54 3:42 - 5:42 4:30 - 6:30 5:18 - 7:18 6:06 - 8:06 6:54 - 8:54 7:42 - 9:42 8:30 - 10:30



8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:18 - 12:18 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 PM

8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 11:18 - 1:18 11:42 - 1:42 12:06 - 2:06 NEW MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54 9:42 - 11:42 10:30 - 12:30 12:06 - 2:06 FULL MOON 12:54 - 2:54 1:42 - 3:42 2:30 - 4:30 3:18 - 5:18 4:06 - 6:06 4:54 - 6:54 5:42 - 7:42 6:30 - 8:30 7:18 - 9:18 8:06 - 10:06 8:54 - 10:54


2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:21 - 5:51 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 AM

2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 5:21 - 6:51 5:48 - 7:18 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27 3:45 - 5:15 4:33 - 6:03 6:09 - 7:39 6:57 - 8:27 7:45 - 9:15 8:33 - 10:03 9:21 - 10:51 10:09 - 11:39 10:57 - 12:27 NA 12:33 - 2:03 1:21 - 2:51 2:09 - 3:39 2:57 - 4:27


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3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 5:45 - 7:15 6:11 - 7:41 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51 4:09 - 5:39 4:57 - 6:27 6:33 - 8:03 7:21 - 8:51 8:09 - 9:39 8:57 - 10:27 9:45 - 11:15 10:33 - 12:03 11:21 - 12:51 12:09 - 1:39 12:57 - 2:27 1:45 - 3:15 2:33 - 4:03 3:21 - 4:51

The Moon Clock and resulting Moon Times were developed 40 years ago by Doug Hannon, one of America’s most trusted wildlife experts and a tireless inventor. The Moon Clock is produced by DataSport, Inc. of Atlanta, GA, a company specializing in wildlife activity time prediction. To order the 2021 Moon Clock, go to Alabama Living

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| Consumer Wise |

Get charged:

Electric trucks and SUVs are coming By Pat Keegan and Brad Thiessen


Ford’s all-electric F150 Lightning, arriving spring 2022, can provide portable power to a jobsite. PHOTO COURTESY FORD

Tesla is expected to make the Cybertruck available by early 2022. PHOTO COURTESY TESLA

Rivian’s R1T all electric pickup is available now. PHOTO COURTESY RIVIAN

Patrick Keegan writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, the Arlington, Va.-based service arm of the nation’s 900-plus consumer-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. Write to for more information.

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he Ford F150 Lightning is changing minds across America about what an electric vehicle can do. In fact, Ford declared this is their best truck to date––not best electric vehicle, but best truck, period. Electric SUVs are available now and pickups will be soon. This development has been anticipated for years. Electric vehicle (EV) sales are about 24 times higher than they were 10 years ago, with several factors driving demand: n The instant torque from electric motors boosts acceleration. n The low center of gravity improves handling and reduces rollover risk. n The superior traction control of electric motors can increase off-road capability and safety in winter. n The upfront cost of an EV purchase is now more competitive with similar internal combustion models, and most EVs qualify for a federal tax credit of up to $7,500. n The cheaper operating fuel cost per mile (for electricity) compared to gasoline or diesel is another attractive feature for drivers. Ford’s electric F150 Lightning is scheduled to arrive in spring 2022, starting under $40,000 for the commercial trim package (230-mile range model). A 300+ mile battery is an option, and all models are 4X4 with respectable towing and payload capacities. The Lightning is also equipped to provide 9.6kW of home backup power or portable power for a jobsite. Tesla has more than a million preorders for their new Cybertruck, which will likely arrive in 2022. The 250-mile range 2WD model starts under $40,000 and steps up to $50,000 for the 300-mile range 4WD model. Tesla plans to offer a 500+ mile range version for $70,000 that can tow more than 14,000 pounds. GMC has announced a late 2021 release of an electric Hummer with 1,000 horsepower and additional features for off-road performance. Rivian, a startup backed by billions of dollars from Ford and Amazon, is planning to unveil their R1T electric pickup later this year. Crossover SUVs (CUVs) are one of the most popular types of vehicles, and a number of manufacturers say they’ll have electric models available soon. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E is actually available now with a range up to 305 miles, starting at $45,000. Volkswagen’s ID4 CUV starts at $40,000 and is available with AWD options. More electric SUVs are coming, including Rivian’s R1S, Nissan’s Ariya and Volkswagen’s six-passenger ID6. And it’s not just vehicles that are shifting to electric. Electric snow machines and jet skis are arriving soon. Even large construction equipment like excavators, backhoes and heavy-duty trucks will have electrically fueled models. One remaining hurdle for increased EV adoption in rural areas is fast, sufficient charging for longer trips. Most EV owners charge at home, but more fast-charge stations on rural highways will be helpful. If you’re interested in an EV, talk to your electric co-op. They may offer special EV rates or rebates.

8/23/21 1:13 PM


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Alabama Living

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8/17/21 3:28 PM

| Our Sources Say |

With protection, newly discovered plant species can thrive in Alabama

Wild ginger patch.

Brian Finzel and Brian Keener at the wild ginger site near Guntersville Dam.


ne of Alabama’s special treasures is its natural beauty. Among many other recreational pursuits, residents and visitors can enjoy walking and biking on trails surrounded by biodiverse flora and fauna. As a reflection of Alabama’s biodiversity, a brand new plant species was recently discovered near Guntersville Dam. Walking in the deep woods, professional plant life photographer and biology teacher at St. Paul II Catholic High School in Huntsville, Alabama, Brian Finzel was taking photos of what he thought was a common plant species…until he examined an unusual patch of Hexastylis, commonly known as wild ginger. According to Finzel, “I was looking for another species of wildflower that’s well known in Tennessee and some parts of Alabama. In doing so, I stumbled across a patch of ginger that looked unfamiliar. I went to examine the only open bloom that I saw and thought, ‘What is that?’” Finzel immediately reached out to his friend, Brian Keener, a botanist and professor of Biological Sciences at the University of West Alabama. When Keener saw the photo of the plant, he said, “I was shocked. Not only had he discovered a state-record plant, but a world-record plant — a species that’s never been documented anywhere until now.” In honor of Finzel’s discovery, the plant was described and named as Finzel’s Ginger, or Hexastylis finzelii in the Journal

Kevin Chandler is general manager, Alabama District Customer Service, for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

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Closeup of wild ginger open bloom.

of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas ( jbrit/article/view/999/977). According to Heather Hart, TVA senior specialist Natural Resource Conservation and Joshua Burnette, TVA senior specialist Natural Resources, Finzel’s Ginger will have more protection now that it’s been officially described and found on TVA property, but they still need help from visitors to ultimately preserve the populations. “We do everything we can to manage habitat and invasive species so that local species can thrive, but habitat and population loss often occurs from people uprooting plants and taking them home, private landowner encroachment on TVA lands — which is illegal on federal property — and people leaving the trails,” Hart says. “We can’t protect every area on our own, so it’s important that visitors know the responsibility that they have: to leave things better than they found it.” Burnette agreed, noting that hiking and biking can be destructive activities if not kept to the designated trails. “No one wants to hike or bike in a Walmart parking lot — we need nature for that and it’s for everyone to enjoy,” he says. “Sometimes there are species like this one that surprise even the professionals, which is a good reminder to always stay on the guided trails so that you don’t damage habitat and possibly eliminate unknown or rare species like Finzel’s Ginger.” As the new species gains recognition in the world of biology and plants, Finzel and Keener hope to have it listed under the Endangered Species Act for further protection. But Finzel admits he’s glad for its current location in the meantime. “We’re eager to see this plant under the ESA— and it just might be someday,” Finzel says. “Until then, we’re happy it’s living on federal land and monitored by TVA.”

8/16/21 4:05 PM

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SEPTEMBER 2021  45

8/18/21 9:14 AM

| Hardy Jackson's Alabama |

For a good cause T

hat time of year again. That time when parents realize that schools simply do not have the resources to do things that parents want the schools to do, much less need them to do, or for that matter should do, so it is necessary for parents to go out and FUNDRAISE. It is an Alabama tradition as old as education itself. Parents raise money for their kids’ activities and other parents can chip in, knowing that their money will actually go where they want it to go. When my children were being educated in Alabama public schools, I sold candy and bought candy, sold magazine subscriptions and bought magazine subscriptions, joined clubs and bought T-shirts. As surely as school starts, funds are raised, and everyone pitches in. If some kid wants you to buy pre-packaged taco-shells for the Spanish Club, you buy ‘em. Gift wrap, candles, chocolate and nuts. Stock up. Not everything is bought or sold. One school sponsored a Spelling Bee. Teams composed of faculty, parents, and students competed. Folks paid to watch community leaders prove Mark Twain right when he observed, “It’s a might poor man that can’t spell a word two ways.” Another school hosted a golf tournament. My favorite was the “Cow Patty Party.” The school football field was divided into numbered squares. The squares were sold to parents and friends. A couple of cows were turned loose on the field and whoever owned the square where the cow plopped a patty, split the pot with the school. Unfortunately, coaches who jealously guard their turf balked at letting cows wander about, plopping patties here and there. So, fundraisers began looking for an alternative. Which was when I proposed a “Chicken Poop Party.” I got the idea from the owners of a “pub and grub” establishment down in the Harvey H. (Hardy) Jackson is Professor Emeritus at Jacksonville State University. He can be reached at

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Florida Panhandle. They took a sheet of plywood, 4’ by 8’, and divided it into little squares, 1,100 of them, which they sold for $1 each. Then they put a well-fed chicken on the board to do its “business.” Unfortunately, things did not go as planned. According to press reports, the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco raided the place and arrested the owners for “keeping a gambling house involving a chicken.”

No lie. That’s what the newspaper said. However, finding no such restrictions in Alabama, so long as the contest was for charity and liquor wasn’t sold, I put the idea out there. What was the response? Crickets. Quiet enough to hear ‘em. So, until Alabama schools see the wisdom of my plan, I guess golf will have to do. No chickens allowed.

8/18/21 9:14 AM

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